NYC Events,”Only the Best” (08/26) + Today’s Featured Pub (Greenwich Village)

“We search the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening, primarily on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you don’t have to.” We make it as easy as 1-2-3.

For future NYC Events, check the tab above: NYC Events-August”
It’s the most comprehensive list of top events this month that you will find anywhere.
Carefully curated from “Only the Best” NYC event info on the the web, it’s a simply superb resource that will help you plan your NYC visit all over town, all through the month.

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Have time for only one NYC Event today? Do this:

Eddie Palmieri + Tony Vega
Central Park SummerStage / 6PM, FREE
“To pronounce piano colossus Eddie Palmieri Latin music’s greatest keyboardist sounds almost constraining. His thundering chords, inventive claves, and cosmic harmonies suggest the kind of effects artist Jack Kirby might have achieved if he’d taken up the piano rather than the pencil. At 81, Palmieri remains a keyboard Galactus, a perfectionist with entire worlds at his fingertips. His horn-enhanced, multi-percussionist lineups sound downright experimental even while providing irresistible dance music, and the recent Full Circle finds him revisiting classic jams like “Vamonos Pa’l Monte” (“Let’s Go to the Mountain”) and “Azúcar” (“Sugar”) in a robust big-band environment. Introduced to Palmieri by Giovanni Hidalgo, singing-salsa smoothie Tony Vega joined the pianist’s band before going solo in 1988 — so maybe expect a reunion?” (Richard Gehr, VillageVoice)

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6 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>>  Michael Feinstein and Christine Ebersole:
>> Harold Mabern
>> Karrin Allyson
>> Battle of Brooklyn
>> 2nd Annual Summer Matsuri & Yukata Photo Contest
>> The Jazz Age Lawn Party
Continuing Events
>> Metropolitan Opera Summer HD Festival
>> 2018 U.S. Open Fan Week
>> Fear & Force: New York City’s Sons of Liberty
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Music, Dance, Performing Arts

 Michael Feinstein and Christine Ebersole: Two For the Road (Aug.21-31)
54 Below / 7PM, $85+
“Feinstein, the popular and polished standard-bearer of American song, returns to the club that bears his name for a long run that teams him with one of the best cabaret performers out there: Broadway leading lady Ebersole (Grey Gardens), who is equally skilled at comedy and sentiment and who moves with ease between her lustrous belt and legit soprano. Among the selections in their Great American Songbook–centered set are “Stormy Weather,” “Time After Time” and “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe.” (TONY)

Harold Mabern (LAST DAY)
Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St./ 8:30PM +10:30PM, $35
“What distinguished pianist Harold Mabern from his brethren when he debuted as a recording artist with A Few Miles From Memphis (1968) was the heaviness with which he hit those 88 keys. It was Mabern, after all, who helped bring the crash-chord style of Art Tatum and Erroll Garner into the thick of the jazz-rich era of the late Sixties and early Seventies, via such Prestige label gems as Workin’ & Wailin’ (1969) and Greasy Kid Stuff! (1970). Later in his career, Mabern found his groove as a trio leader, working alongside such indelible rhythm sections as Ron Carter and Jack DeJohnette on Straight Street (1989) and Christian McBride and Tony Reedus on Maybern’s Grooveyard (1996) and Maya With Love (2000). More recently, the 82-year-young pianist’s go-to combo has been John Webber on double bass and Joe Farnsworth on drums. Though it has been a decent while since the group released its excellent 2014 LP for Smoke Sessions, Right on Time, we can only hope that the auspicious trio’s return to the Vanguard for this multi-night stand spells some new music in the offing.” (Ron Hart, VillageVoice)

Karrin Allyson (LAST DAY)
Smoke, 2751 Broadway, between 105th and 106th Sts./ 7, 9, +10:30PM, $40
“In her search for repertoire that fits her like a glove, this veteran singer has lighted on touchstones from, among a small universe of disparate sources, Joni Mitchell, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and John Coltrane. With her new album, “Some of That Sunshine,” Allyson presents her first recording of all-original material. She will sprinkle some shiny new tunes throughout her sets.” (Steve Futterman, NewYorker)

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Smart Stuff / Other NYC Events
(Lectures/Discussions, Book Talks, Film, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)

Elsewhere, but this sure looks worth the detour:
Battle of Brooklyn
Green-Wood Cemetery / 11AM-2PM, FREE
“In 1776, the Battle of Brooklyn, the first battle after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was waged on land that is now part of Green-Wood Cemetery. This Sunday, they’re commemorating the occasion and those who fought for the republic with a free celebration that will include parades, horses, cannon fire, and reenactments with the gorgeous Gothic spires of the cemetery’s main gates as the backdrop. Things will go boom: You might want to bring earplugs.” (grubstreet.com)

2nd Annual Summer Matsuri & Yukata Photo Contest
Slurp noodles at a Japanese festival
4th Ave. btw 9/10St. / 10AM-6PM, FREE
“Salute Japanese culture at the outdoor Summer Matsuri presented by JAPAN Fes. this Sunday. The festival is free to enter, and you’ll learn the Bon Dance, catch Taiko drumming sessions, and test your chopstick acumen in a noodle-catching contest. Bites from Taiyaki NYC, Tojo Kitchen, and Bonsai Kakigori will be available for purchase. Register early for a free Calpio — a Japanese soft drink.” (thrillist.com)

The Jazz Age Lawn Party (Aug. 25-26)
Governors Island / $45-$75, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.,
“Forget 1999 — at this gathering, you can party like it’s 1929. With a prohibition-era theme, the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governors Island gives guests a chance to gussy up in flapper fashion. Food will be sold, but picnicking is invited (outside alcohol is prohibited). Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra are the featured performers among the seven musical acts scheduled; find croquet on the lawn, plus Roaring Twenties-style dance lessons.” (amNY)

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Continuing Events

2018 U.S. Open Fan Week (LAST DAY)
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park /
“There’s going to be a lot of racket (swinging) at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park come August 27 during the U.S. Open, a two-week tennis tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens. Tickets for the usually star-studded matches (Bey and Jay-Z attended in recent years) tend to be steep ($65 to $100 for the cheap seats), but you can attend free of charge during U.S. Open Fan Week.

Just one week before the professional matches begin, head to the National Tennis Center to watch a qualifying tournament, where 128 women and 128 men compete. You can also check out the top dogs in tennis practice on the grounds (think Serena and Venus Williams and Rafael Nadal), and be just a few feet away from your favorite players. There’s even more tennis-related activities scheduled off the court, too. Get pumped for New York’s major summer sporting showdown during the U.S. Open Experience on Wednesday, August 22 and Thursday, August 23 at Brookfield Place. Players and special guests will make appearances and pose for selfies, and there will be food sampling and more sponsor-related activities at the scene. The event promises to be more fun than you can shake a racket at!” (TONY)

For a wonderful guide to the U.S. Open, try TimeOutNewYork’s guide.

Metropolitan Opera Summer HD Festival (Aug.24-Sep.03)
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
“Think you can’t afford the finer things? Think again. We got the hookup on free opera. For its tenth summer in a row, the Metropolitan Opera invites you to Lincoln Center Plaza for nightly alfresco screenings of epic performances from previous seasons. From August 24–September 3, the Met will set up over 2,800 seats in front of the Opera House, where you and your date can eat and enjoy tapes of the shows under the stars.

The Met opens the series with a self-aware screening of the Marx Brothers’ A Night at the Opera on August 24. After that, you can check out classics like Anthony Minghella’s stunning Madama Butterfly production (September 3 and 8) and many more. Here’s the lineup: A Night at the Opera (August 24) Roméo et Juliette (August 25) Norma (August 26) Elektra (August 27) Il Barbiere di Siviglia (August 28) Lulu (August 29) Rusalka (August 30) L’Elisir d’Amore (August 31) Un Ballo in Maschera (September 1) Der Rosenkavalier (September 2) Madama Butterfly (September 3 and 8)” (TONY)

Fear & Force: New York City’s Sons of Liberty
Fraunces Tavern Museum, 54 Pearl St./ 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, $7
“We may not like paying taxes, but we would never think to tar and feather the tax collector. Yet as many of the colonists prepared for what would be the American Revolution, there was an organized group who opposed the government through violent resistance. Come see objects preserved from pivotal moments relating to the New York Sons of Liberty, like the tearing down of the King George statue in Bowling Green Park, and throwing chests of tea into the New York Harbor.”

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♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, plus dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity, with a population of  8.6 million, had a record 63 million visitors last year and was TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top U.S. Destination for 2018 – awesome! BUT quality shows draw crowds. Try to reserve seats for these top NYC events in advance, even if just earlier on the day of performance.

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Bonus NYC Events – Music Venues:
So much fine live music every night in this town. These are my favorite non jazz music venues on Manhattan’s WestSide. Hit the Hot Link and check out who’s playing tonight:

City Winery – 155 Varick St., citywinery.com, 212-608-0555
Joe’s Pub @ Public Theater – 425 Lafayette St., joespub.com, 212-967-7555
Beacon Theatre – 2124 Broadway @ 74th St., beacontheatre.com, 212-465-6500
Town Hall – 123 W43rd St. (btw 6/7), thetownhall.org, 212-997-6661
Le Poisson Rouge – 158 Bleecker St., lepoissonrouge.com, 212-505-3474
Sony Hall – 235 W 46th St. (btw 7/8), sonyhall.com, 212-997-5123
and one more, not exactly WestSide:
Bowery Ballroom – 6 Delancey St. boweryballroom.com,

Special Mention:
Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones St. nr Bleecker St. caffevivaldi.com, 212-691-7538
a classic, old jazz club in the Village, Caffe V often surprises with a wonderfully eclectic lineup. It’s my favorite spot for an evening of listening discovery and enjoyment.

Alas, Caffe V is no more, another victim of a rapacious NYC landlord. Owner Ishrat fought the good fight and Caffe V will be sorely missed.

See Below.
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NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):
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A PremierPub and 3 Good Eating Places – Greenwich Village

Caffe Vivaldi / 32 Jones Street (btw. Bleecker St./W4th St.)

Café Vivaldi is a classic, intimate club located in Greenwich Village on Jones Street, the street featured on the cover of Bob Dylan’s second album, “Freewheelin’. ”

maxresdefaultEach night Ishrat, the long time proprietor and impresario, carefully curates and schedules an eclectic series of musicians. You can often see him at his table in the corner, hard at work reviewing music videos and listening to cd demos on his laptop, scouting out future bookings. Musicians come from all over to play and sing in a club in Greenwich Village. Some are local New Yorkers, others are just passing through, in town for a few days.

There is a small bar, seating maybe 10. It’s close to the stage and I find it’s a perfect spot to sip a glass of red wine while listening to the music. The room itself has the performance area at one end and a cozy fireplace at the other. The performance area here is small, dominated by a large black Yamaha Grand piano. Tables are bunched together and most people at the tables are eating lite meals or sampling the wonderful desserts.

There is also a good selection of fairly priced wines,  but you are here because of the music. You can never be quite sure what you’re going to find, and that’s half the charm of this place. It’s not a home run every night, but many nights it’s pretty special.

I remember the night I saw the most talented bossa nova group, just in from San Paulo. As I listened, I wondered if there was any better music playing anywhere else in New York City that night. And at Caffé Vivaldi there is never a cover charge. Their recently redesigned web site does give you a better idea of the type of music playing each night.

At one time Greenwich Village was filled with clubs just like this, but times change. Real estate interests have impacted the village, and not for the better. Even Caffé Vivaldi had a rough time recently, when a new landlord raised the rent exorbitantly. Fortunately, Ishrat has built a loyal following over the years, and a fund raiser and slightly more reasonable rent has kept Café Vivaldi in business.

When Woody Allen and Al Pacino wanted to make movies featuring the timeless quality of Greenwich Village they came to Vivaldi. It’s important that we keep this special place alive, for if we lose Cafe Vivaldi, NYCity will have lost a piece of it’s soul.

CAFFE VIVALDI HAS CLOSED,  JUNE 23 WAS THE FINAL NIGHT. VERY SAD.
As reported in the “Gothamist”:
“Caffe Vivaldi, one of the last bohemian bastions of the West Village, is set to close this weekend. During its 35 years on Jones Street, the casual cafe won the hearts of locals and celebs alike, including Oscar Isaac, Bette Midler, and Al Pacino.

Despite that friendly communal atmosphere, the owners ultimately struggled to survive under their notorious vulture landlord Steve Croman, who they say waged a harassment campaign against the restaurant, and eventually tripled their rent.”

Website: http://caffevivaldi.com/
Phone #: (212) 691-7538
Hours: Music generally 7:30PM – 11PM, but varies
Lunch/Dinner 11AM-on
Subway: #1 to Christopher St.
Walk 1 blk S. on 7th ave S. to Bleecker St., 1 blk left on Bleecker to Jones St., 50 yards left on Jones St. to Caffe V.
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“Pub” is used in it’s broadest sense – bars, bar/restaurants, jazz clubs, wine bars, tapas bars, craft beer bars, dive bars, cocktail lounges, and of course, pubs – just about anyplace you can get a drink without a cover charge.

If you have a fave premier pub or good eating place on Manhattan’s WestSide let us all know about it – leave a comment.
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3 Good Eating places

It’s not difficult to find a place to eat in Manhattan.
Finding a good, inexpensive place to eat is a bit harder.
Here are a few of my faves in this neighborhood:

Fish – 280 Bleecker St. (just a bit S. of 7th ave South)
This was an easy pick – the best raw bar special in town. $9 gets you 6 of the freshest oysters or clams + a glass of wine or beer. Don’t know how they can do it, but I tell everyone I know about this place. And it’s located right in the heart of some of the best no cover music in town.

Bleecker Street Pizza – 69 7th ave S. (corner of Bleecker St.)
The place is tiny and not much to look at, but this is one good slice. They like to brag that they have been voted “Best pizza in NY” 3 years in a row by the Food Network. I believe them. I would have voted for them.

Num Pang – 21 E 12th St. (btw. University Place/5th ave.)
This is a Cambodian banh mi sandwich shop that kept me well fed while I was in class nearby recently. It’s cramped, even for NYCity, but usually there is room up the spiral staircase to sit down and eat. In good weather carry your sandwich a few blocks to Union Square park. You may have to wait a few minutes, because everything is freshly made, but it’s worth it. Can you believe – an unheard of 26 food rating by Zagat.

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“3 Good Eating places” focuses on a quick bite, what I call “Fine Fast Food – NYCity Style”
No reservations needed.
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NYCity is the most diverse and interesting place to find a meal anywhere in the world. With more than 24,000 eating establishments you might welcome some advice.

◊ For all my picks of 54 Good Eating places, and essays on my favorite 18 PremierPubs in 9 Neighborhoods on Manhattan’s WestSide, order a copy of my e-book:
“Eating and Drinking on NYCity’s WestSide” ($4.99, available FALL 2018).
◊ Order before NOV.30, 2018 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.

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